Sing, Creator of song, to the wholeness inside which my soul is aching to bring itself forth in these orphaned days. The rain pours with relentless force, and the mind tortures itself in forests too dense to take comfort. And though I flee to the desert in a seven-year drought, I go drenched in this rain. I enter the black hole of fantasy, racked with dreams of fantastic rescue. Never have I been reckless enough to wreck my old ships in search of new lands, yet here I stand, floored by the actual. Let me seek with reckless indifference to cost the intangible treasures that can never be lost, and let me reckon now with how I will raze my towers to brave my mortality. Do not rock my landlocked body to sleep tonight until I have prayed with the urgency this daily emergency demands.
Month: January 2021
Prayer: You sow my stony ground
You sow my stony ground with winnowed grain. You answer my wordless prayers without a word. When the riptides of loneliness drag me back into the storm, you guide my shrinking form from sea to shore. And still I wrap my ripped skin in thin strips of gauze. Grant me the courage to strip off my masks and inhabit your silence in nakedness and need, embracing completely whatever brings you near, whatever dissolves the walls of fear and waters the grass in the prison yard. Melt the iron rod, and spread my body on the bread of Life. Without you, I go hungry in America, land of plenty, land of empty promises of liberty. Liberate me from the way I cling to everything I’d kill to keep. Bring back my soul to your tree like a leaf in spring. Gather the seeds my grasping hands have scattered, and plant in the depths of my pain the pearl of your measureless grain.
Prayer: As a bird
As a bird, when tricked by a mirror image of itself in the sky, will fling its wings against the frame, hindering its inborn ability to fly, so too do the illusions in my vision injure my capacity to soar. My soul falls from its deathless star, and my body crumbles to the hard wet sand. I crawl underneath a parched plant to await the desert of absence, or recover the truth beyond the pall and pale, your miraculous resurrection. Find me here, my battered Lord, and beat your name in my chest like a drum. Find me here, and let me come to the blessed recognition of the Word beyond death, beyond fear.
Before the Flood
Darkness and stillness
stake humble claims
in the ark of my heart.
We float together, three-in-one,
in a sea of trinitarian silence,
aware of the various elements,
at ease in the calm waters.
My soul receives the bread of dawn
and comes down to its own wisdom
of when to rise from the depths again
the next time my boat,
overwhelmed all of a sudden
by violent winds and vicious waves,
flips, spins, or floods.
I can’t write, I can’t rest
The night guard revisits my cell
With you I got out; we got out together
I doubt I’ll ever get well.
In Medias Res
As a child, I liked to move. Play basketball, run around with my brother Collin, double-bounce him on the trampoline. But I would always want to do my homework first, and then I could let myself have fun. And this is still the case. I need to do my homework, and then I can have fun. What is my homework? My work is to be at home in my life, in my body, to embrace the place where I am standing in the present moment. To find the endless summer at the heart of this cold winter morning. I want so much to be in medias res, in the middle of things. I want to glimpse the center, to enter by the narrow gate, and to live from the core. Lord of my life, help me to feel this wish with my entire being. Point me toward you. Make my heart single. Let my voice sing of Life experienced, not by an isolated individual, but by a single soul united in the depths with all souls, by one man at one with your Oneness, in touch at last with your Is-ness. Do not let me forget what I want. Do not let me drift. Help me to stay directed, to finish my home-work, and to enjoy the journey home.